The Reporters Committee and its attorneys and staff work closely with other organizations to advocate for a free press and to ensure journalists, including documentary filmmakers, have access to pro bono legal support. Here are a few examples of our work in collaboration with others. If you would like to work with us, please get in touch.
First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund
The Press Freedom Defense Fund provides grants for legal representation to journalists, news organizations, and whistleblowers who face the threat of a subpoena, lawsuit, or other action to compel the disclosure of a source or journalistic work product. Since 2017, Reporters Committee attorneys have provided intake support to this Fund, reviewing and evaluating applications from journalists in U.S.-based litigation or potential litigation. Reporters Committee attorneys do not make funding decisions. Anyone seeking support from the Fund can apply here.
Free Expression Legal Network
The Reporters Committee helps coordinate a nationwide network of law school clinics, academics, and others focused on promoting and protecting a free press and the free flow of information. We help the clinics and other members share resources and serve as a connection point between the clinics and journalists in need of pro bono legal support. As part of this network, Technology and Press Freedom Project Director Gabe Rottman and Staff Attorney Jennifer Nelson serve as adjunct professors at the University of Virginia First Amendment Clinic.
Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors
Reporters Committee attorneys work with Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors (FIRE) to provide pro bono pre-publication assistance to freelance journalists through FIRE’s Virtual Newsroom program.
Fund for Investigative Journalism
Reporters Committee attorneys provide pro bono pre-publication assistance to journalists who receive grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism. These journalists work on investigative reporting projects across the country.
InterAmerican Press Association
The Reporters Committee is the United States representative to the InterAmerican Press Association. In early February 2018, we hosted a delegation of prominent journalists from Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and the U.S. to discuss the state of press freedom in the U.S. Reporters Committee staff members facilitated the journalists’ meetings with members of Congress and their staff, current and former members of the executive branch, a federal appeals court judge, and several academics and journalists. Throughout their meetings in D.C., the IAPA delegates offered their perspectives and lessons that we outlined in an October 2018 report. For our work to promote and defend the news media’s right to exercise press freedom without restrictions, IAPA awarded the Reporters Committee with the 2019 Chapultepec Grand Prize.
International Documentary Association
Reporters Committee attorneys, along with the Documentary Film Legal Clinic at the UCLA School of Law, provide pro bono pre-publication assistance for documentary films supported by IDA’s Enterprise Documentary Fund. Reporters Committee attorneys provide Enterprise Documentary Fund grantees with legal advice and assistance regarding First Amendment and newsgathering issues related to these film projects.
Fact-Checkers Legal Support Initiative
Reporters Committee attorneys developed a legal guide specifically for fact-checkers in the U.S. and coordinated with other media lawyers who authored additional chapters for fact-checkers around the world as part of a collaboration with the U.K.-based Media Defence and the International Fact-Checking Network. The Initiative supports fact-checkers by connecting them with pro bono lawyers, helping to pay legal fees where pro bono support isn’t available, and providing technical legal assistance and guides on legal and non-legal issues that affect fact-checkers. Fact-checkers can apply for help through Media Defence’s secure online portal.
Red Press Initiative
The Reporters Committee is a project partner on and an advisory committee member for the Red Press Initiative, led by the Native American Journalists Association. The Red Press Initiative is researching and gathering feedback on the vitality of press freedom in Indian Country. The reported findings will be used to develop trainings, materials, and an educational outreach campaign to enhance and expand press freedom across Indian Country.
The U.S. Press Freedom Coalition
The Reporters Committee co-leads a coalition of press freedom groups in developing a public engagement campaign about the critical role of a free press.
U.S. Press Freedom Tracker
We raise awareness of press freedom challenges in the U.S. through our work as a steering committee member of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, which brings together more than two dozen press freedom groups to create a centralized repository for research. The data we gather helps inform advocacy, journalism and legal action, and we publish an annual report of press freedom in the U.S. The Tracker is maintained by Freedom of the Press Foundation.
The Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership
The Reporters Committee, Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders were selected as the inaugural partners for The Washington Post’s press freedom partnership — an initiative that aims to highlight organizations working vigilantly to promote press freedom and raise awareness of the rights of journalists worldwide — which launched in November 2018.